[ UPDATE 11/11/2019 19:10 ] PLUS will support TNG RFID and they will adopt multiple payment methods. More details here.
PLUS Malaysia had recently stopped offering Touch ‘n Go card reloads at all toll exits on the North-South Expressway. While a number of users have complained about the inconvenience, PLUS is confident that the move has helped to reduce congestion. Soon, users can look forward to an even seamless journey with RFID.
According to Datuk Azman Ismail, the Managing Director for PLUS Malaysia, the number of motorists entering the PLUS highway with an insufficient balance on their cards has dropped significantly since it started the initiative in the Central region on 1st August. He shared that in the central region toll plazas, transactions with insufficient card balance was reduced from 5% out of 850,000 transactions on 1st August to just 1.3% on 6th November. In the northern region, the number of insufficient balances has dropped from 9% out of 238,000 transactions on 5th November to 5% on the next day, while in the southern region, it has also dropped from 8% out of 199,000 transactions on 5th November to 4% on 6th November.
On the recent report about a 7km traffic jam at Skudai Toll Plaza, Azman said that it was an isolated incident. He shared that there was a bit of chaos as some users came out of their vehicles to inquire about card reloads. He urged users to remain in their vehicles for their safety while assuring that PLUS staff will be ready to provide them with assistance if required.
PLUS to roll out RFID in 2020
The managing director also said it is also in the long term plan for PLUS to launch RFID at all Open-toll effective 1st Jan 2020. That will be made available using an eWallet and PLUS currently has about 10 toll plazas that use an Open-toll system while Closed-toll system will be done at a later stage. The current plan for the closed toll system is 1st April 2020.
In case you’re wondering, Open-toll system highways have toll plazas that charge you for travelling through a specific section of the highway which is common for most highways within the Klang Valley. Meanwhile, for Closed-toll system, the toll fee will be calculated based on the entry and exit points, and you will be charged upon exit.
The 10 open-system toll plazas on the PLUS expressway are located at the following locations:
- Kempas (NSE)
- Perling (Linkedua)
- Lima Kedai (Linkedua)
- Tanjung Kupang (Linkedua)
- Mambau (SPDH)
- Lukut (SPDH)
- Jambatan Pulau Pinang
- Lunas (BKE)
- Kubang Semang (BKE)
- Jitra (NSE)
He also added that the experience for RFID is seamless and you won’t need to stop as you pass through the lane. As a result, highway users can expect smoother traffic as to what we are experiencing today. You can check out the video of Azman explaining its RFID plans here.
What is interesting to note here is the use of an eWallet. When PLUS RFID was introduced last year, the toll fee is charged directly to your credit or debit card and this eliminates the need of topping up or reload.
The RFID project by PLUS was objected by Touch ‘n Go’s holding company, CIMB Group which resulted the highway concessionaire being served a Notice of Arbitration. According to CIMB, the PLUS RFID system is a violation of the Joint Venture Agreement dated 12 May 1998. Eventually, they have settled the dispute out of court. It was recently reported that PLUS is working on allowing highway users to pay via eWallets including Touch ‘n Go.
With Touch ‘n Go eWallet becoming a possible payment option, users may no longer need to top up their cards manually. The eWallet supports auto-reload via credit card and this is done automatically without additional surcharge. In addition to RFID, we hope that PLUS highway will also support Touch ‘n Go PayDirect. This will allow users to pay toll charges from their eWallet when they use their physical Touch ‘n Go card.
Editor’s Note: The headline has been updated to reflect the implementation of RFID beginning with open-tolls on 1st January 2020. We’ve also added the list of open toll plazas.